New York City Mayor Eric Adams repeated calls on Sunday for the federal government to play a larger role in addressing the unlawful migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Democratic mayor was in El Paso this weekend to survey the border and meet with local officials and asylum seekers to discuss the crisis.
After a day of closed-to-the-press meetings, Adams implored the federal government to provide additional funds and support to American cities receiving tens of thousands of asylum seekers claiming refuge from economic crises and political tumult in Latin America.
“What is happening in Chicago right now, and New York, and Houston, and Los Angeles, and Washington, our cities are being undermined. And we don’t deserve this,” the mayor said during a Sunday press conference. “Migrants don’t deserve this. And the people who live in these cities don’t deserve this.”
Adams said cities like New York and El Paso were on the “front lines” of the unprecedented crisis and are unfairly shouldering most of the operational and financial burden of accommodating unlawful migrants released into the country from federal border custody after claiming asylum.
“This is a national problem,” Adams said. “We must have real immigration reform, and we must immediately have a short-term fix of making sure that the cost of this does not fall on our cities.”
Adams, who issued an emergency declaration in October over unlawful migrant arrivals in New York, also submitted an emergency mutual aid request to New York State for immediate help to shelter new arrivals this weekend.
That request came after New York City saw 3,100 people arrive during the seven days ending last Wednesday — with more than 800 arriving last Thursday alone, according to the mayor.
In total, New York City has taken in more than 38,000 people in the last nine months, Adams’ office said Monday. The City has set up 74 shelters and four processing centers to accommodate the new arrivals, including at repurposed hotels.
Some have traveled to the city with the help of volunteers or family members in the U.S., while others have been bused to New York by state governors and other localities.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been transporting unlawful migrants to Democratic-led cities like New York. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, also bused an unspecified number of such migrants to New York City.
For several months last year, El Paso carried out a City-run operation to bus unlawful migrants to New York City as it struggled to handle a sharp increase in crossings. The Democratic-led Texas city has converted a convention center and two vacant middle schools into makeshift housing facilities to alleviate overwhelmed City shelters.
Still, many of the bused migrants have found themselves sleeping on El Paso’s streets.
With other localities around the country also sending unlawful migrants to the Big Apple, the city’s shelter and emergency housing population could surpass 100,000 in coming weeks, Adams warned Friday. He estimated the cost to city taxpayers at up to $2 billion.
“New York cannot take more. We can’t,” Adams said, repeating recent statements saying the City is at a breaking point.
“The federal government should pick up the entire cost of what El Paso is going through and all of the other municipalities,” he asserted.
After meeting with unlawful migrants who had recently crossed the southern border, the mayor said some are being given false impressions about New York.
“There are websites that are advertising New York City, basically the streets are paved with gold and they will automatically be given employment,” he said.
“We have to give people adequate information,” he continued.
Adams will head to Washington, D.C. later this week to speak at the United States Conference of Mayors, and he promised to make the crisis at the border a top priority at the meeting.
“This has fallen on our cities,” Adams said. “And I am now going to coordinate my mayors across the entire country to say, ‘How do we respond to this directly?'”